Shell Murals of Joy

"If seashells are love letters in the sand, then let's spread that love on the walls." I was walking one bright sunny evening along the coast of Les Sables d'Olonne with my parents-in-law and we stopped by the corner of L'Ocean Cafe to take a small alley that leads to Quartier de L'ile Penotte. 

Flabbergasted, the work of art on the walls of every house and street corner brings joy to any passersby.  Quirky, colorful and definitely creative, the local artist, Dan Arnaud-Aubin transformed these alleys not only as a tourist attraction, but a source of happiness and beauty. I think this is what Art is really all about. Creating something that brings us profound joy while sharing beauty and love with others. Allowing them to see what once existed in our mind, unexpectedly touching their hearts and soul.

That evening, I was lucky to have had a glimpse of the artist. "La dame aux coquillages" de l'ile Penotte, Danièle Arnaud-Aubin.  She was in a nautical stripe shirt, preoccupied, entertaining guests along the alley. She was granted the permission by her neighbors and the municipality since 1997 to transform the alleys into something magical. There is Musée du Coquillage, a shell Museum in Les Sables d'Olonne and she works in collaboration with them, which was not surprising since she's the best ambassador for the museum.  She imports a lot of shells from the Philippines which is known to be the best source of shells in the world. 

We visited this quartier once again last Thursday 19th of June to see other artists, artisans displaying their work and crafts from custom jewelry, paintings, even dolls. There were also books and some items from the region. 

Where is it?

From Promenade Georges Clemenceau along Les Sables d'Olonne, take the small street next to L'Ocean Cafe leading to an art gallery. Take the small alley going straight right next to it which will lead you to a series of narrow alleys. You'll slowly discover the shell art from there.  

You can also take Rue Travot. You'll find a L'ille Penotte signage not far from the corner of Rue d'Assas. 

Personally, I think it is a must to see this lovely part of Les Sables d'Olonne. Since having found this, I often take a detour to walk along these alleys whenever I pass by the coast. 

Did you collect sea shells as a child? 

For more colorful inspirations, check out Jane's post on Winding Ridge Lane for June Project Color. 

Have a lovely Friday!
Love & light,

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  1. This is wonderful and a great way to make the alleyways more attractive. I can see why you often take a detour. I wouldn't tire of seeing this artwork!

  2. they certainly made those streets more vivid :) Love the one with the cat!

  3. Wow! Those are spectacular, and look like they are well maintained!

  4. Seems like such a labor of love as well - what a cool little find